Armand is a neighbor of the Valmondes. He has inherited his father's plantation along with one of the finest and oldest names in Louisiana. He seems to see the things in his life—Désirée, their child, his slaves—as mere possessions, ones that either reflect well or poorly upon him. His self-interest is easily evidenced in his strict rule of his slaves and his eager acquisition of Désirée. At first, Désirée's influence seems to soften him, and he is kinder to his slaves. She also thinks he is enormously proud of having a boy child—again, a possession that will bear his name. However, upon discovering his child's mixed ancestry, and blaming it on Désirée, Armand cruelly casts aside his wife and son, for they now have no worth to him. The unexplored irony of the story rests in his realization that it is he, not Désirée, who has African blood.
Désiréé Valmonde Aubigny
Désirée is the adopted daughter of the Valmonde family. Madame and Monsieur Valmonde have raised Désirée since she was a toddler when they found her by the plantation's front gate. Despite the fact that her ancestry is unknown, Désirée has grown up to be the ‘‘idol of Valmonde.’’ She is a sweet, kind, affectionate girl. Her mild-mannered character, however, leads her to rely too much on Armand's love and approval. As his wife, her whole being seems centered around how her husband perceives her, their child, and their life...
(The entire section is 371 words.)